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3 out of 4 stars
About 95 percent of "Les Miserables" consists of singing. This movie runs at 157 minutes which is a long time to be sitting in a movie theater. I think that it could have been shortened a smidge by not having people sing their entire dialog. I am not the biggest fan of musicals, especially when the characters sing majority of the time. It was hard to understand what they were singing about in some scenes.
"Les Miserables" is very ambitious in regard to the sets, the special effects and the performances by each of the characters. Marius played by Eddie Redmayne, which is his first role in a musical, did a phenomenal job on all of his performances.
Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway were definitely the standouts of this film. The thing that was most impressive about this movie is that they sang live on set and you can see it in the actor's faces. When the actors are exerting themselves physically, you can hear it in their voices.
It is a beautiful movie, but I recommend waiting until it comes out on DVD, so you can watch it comfortably in your home.
-- Brittany Wygladalski, Sugar Hill
4 out of 4 stars
When Tom Hooper set out to direct a film version of the well-loved musical "Les Miserables," he must have been aware of the challenges. The stage version runs about three hours and contains many plot lines spanning several years of time. The resulting film is dark, epic and emotional (at times manipulatively so).
Casting is strong overall. Anne Hathaway performs a stunning "I Dream A Dream," with almost no camera cutaways. A captivating Hugh Jackman helps to ground the film, as he appears in all of its different times and locales. If Hathaway and Jackman do not receive Oscar nominations, something is definitely amiss here. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter have comedic roles and give the film some much-needed lightness for "Master of the House." The one disappointing bit of casting is Russell Crowe as Javert. While he looks the part (he has his scowl down pat), his voice is just not as strong as the rest of the cast.
The orchestrations are beautiful -- stark on the quieter pieces, and bombastic on the big numbers like "One Day More." Watch out for "Suddenly," a new song composed for the film, sung beautifully by Jackman.
For fans of the stage musical, this is a must-see. Tissues and a strong bladder are recommended (it runs two and a half hours).
-- Paul Tate, Sugar Hill
1/2 star out of 4 stars
With enormous hope and promise, since this work was a highly successful Broadway play, the movie version instead falls flatter than a pancake. In fact, it's a bit like long torture and undue punishment for the public. The worse part is a lame script that is terrible and will not reach audiences and absolutely wastes the talent of many skilled actors. Then there is the silly and utterly ridiculous singing by actors who may be accomplished performers, but who have zilch singing talent. Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman are beyond awful as they sing their lines.
The pitiful score that adds zero buzz. So this film has next to no entertainment value as it plods along its predictable but arduous path. To think this work could be considered for any movie award is truly astonishing. It's, in fact, two and a half hours of unbridled pain and misery. It may be the biggest misuse of sheer acting talent in the history of movie making. With the biggest disappointment being I wasted a bit of time on a DOA movie, I urge you to stay away from this unmitigated dog.
-- Rick Wright, Auburn